Meditations in Hebrews 6: 29. Elementary Teaching?
Heb 6:1-3 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead , and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.
I commented and challenged in the previous meditation as to the state of today’s church, as to how these verses would apply to us today. The writer had just commented how he felt his readers were lacking and we considered that. As we move on into chapter 6 we have another of these “Therefore” link words. i.e. because of what he has been saying, we now need to move on. He then gives us six, what he considers, ‘elementary teachings’ about Christ, with the challenge that we need to move on from these, and we have to question, are these six things the things that we teach to new converts so that we can move on to meatier matters? Are we each familiar with these ‘elementary’ teachings? Let’s consider each of them.
a) The Teachings
- Repentance: this is all about the fundamental change of mind that causes one to turn away from sin and the old life, that is necessary in every believer if they are to fully come through to a place where Christ is both Saviour and Lord. Is that a basic understanding in each of us?
- Faith in God: this is the positive requirement of trusting in all God says. It is the counterpart of repentance. As repentance is turning away from sin, faith is turning to God. Faith is all about a life of listening to God. Is this also a basic understanding for each of us?
- Instruction about baptisms: the plural probably refers to different baptisms with which the Jewish believers would be familiar, such as Jewish baptism of proselytes, John the Baptist’s baptism, and the baptism in water as commanded by Jesus (Mt 28:19) and also the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11/Acts 1:5) Again, part of our understanding and experience?
- Laying on of hands: although this sometimes followed baptism (Acts 8:16-17; 19:5-6) or when commissioning ministries (see Ac 6:6; 13:3; 1Ti 5:22; 2Ti 1:6), or when healing the sick (see Mk 6:5; 16:18; Lk 4:40; Ac 28:8) and bestowal of blessing (see Mt 19:13-15), the big emphasis is on the impartation or passing on of power or anointing in this act. Is hids a common part of our church life?
- Resurrection of the dead: this is the doctrine of the resurrection of all people in the last days (see Jn 5:25-29; 11:25; 2Co 4:14). Is that part of our hope for the future?
- Eternal judgment: this is the doctrine of the destiny of those who reject God’s saving grace and persist in their sinful ways. A warning to be aware of.
We perhaps should comment that the first two are about essentials for coming to salvation, the next two about various ‘procedures’ within the life of the church, and the last two about bringing understanding and hope and warning about life after death. All of them should have very practical outworkings. Let’s consider them to emphasise and ensure understanding:
b) The Outworkings
- Repentance: repentance brings us to a place of surrender to God. Without it we cannot do that and then go on to receive all He has for us.
- Faith in God: this opens to door for us to receive all of the goodness that He has for us. Without it we fail to receive our inheritance.
- Instruction about baptisms: this challenges us to follow Jesus’ pattern and receive the public act of immersion for the washing of sins and receiving the new life, as well as being filled by the Spirit as we are immersed in Him. Without both of these we again come short of receiving all the blessing that God has for us.
- Laying on of hands: this takes us into a constant awareness of the power and presence of the Spirit and challenges our availability to Him to move in faith to bring ‘tangible’ blessing to others. Without it, corporate church life lacks the dynamic of the Spirit’s ongoing impartation.
- Resurrection of the dead: this brings a measure of hope and assurance for our life after death. Without it we are left wondering about life in eternity.
- Eternal judgment: this is the warning and reminder to all that ALL will stand before God and be held accountable. It is only reliance on the work of Christ on the Cross that can give us peace of mind about this future encounter. Without this warning, there is simply casual indifference and failure to realise the awful possibility of hell after death.
So these, he says are basics, elementary teachings, things that should be imparted and understood early in your Christian walk and although we all need reminders, they should not be all that we ever hear (even if we hear this much) for there is so much more for us to learn and experience and do that all comes under the heading of ‘learning’. May we not settle, may we always have a teachable heart, a heart that is open to learn all that God wishes to teach us. Amen? Amen!